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Braun not likely to answer media questions in his “coming clean” session. It hardly matters.

Aug 20, 2013, 8:51 AM EDT

ryan braun getty Getty Images

There was a report over the weekend that Ryan Bruan would soon be “coming clean” about his PED use, lies and all the rest. Tom Haudricourt reports, however, that he may not be answering any questions:

Word has circulated that Braun was preparing to make a public apology and admission of guilt in using PEDs any day now. But the indication was that it might be in the form of a prepared statement instead of a media session.

This will be way less satisfying for many than seeing Braun get grilled in a Q&A session, but I think we also need to ask ourselves whether anything would satisfy people at this point.  Mark McGwire sat for a Q&A and people talked about all of the things left unsaid and unanswered. In any situation involving a figure in a scandal you can be 100% positive that people will say they dodged hard questions or showed no remorse. I defy anyone to find a press conference or interview involving an infamous person where, after it was over, people said “Well, good. He finally talked. We’re all satisfied and should now move on.”  It never, ever happens.

Right or wrong, Braun can’t rehabilitate himself in any way no matter what he says.  The small number of people who still support him always will.  Everyone who thinks poorly of him will always think poorly about him. People who truly hate him and who demand answers from him have already decided that no answers he gives will ever be enough.  They will complain loudly that Braun is ducking questions but the questions and his answers wouldn’t matter to them. That is the nature of these things.

In other news: Yahoo! reports that a couple of the players who it reported Braun spoke to and to whom he smeared sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr.Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki — denied that he ever spoke to them.  Yahoo! and ESPN both stand by their overall report — that Braun did smear Laurenzi — but the breadth of the smear job may be smaller than first suggested.

  1. dondada10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    ” People who truly hate him and who demand answers from him have already decided that no answers he gives will ever be enough. ”

    I disagree. There’s satisfaction to be had in seeing him squirm under scrutiny. Instead he’s going to pick his best Arthur Fonzarelli jacket and make some vanilla statement.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      So you’re agreeing that the answers don’t matter. It’s all about the exercise in punishing him?

      • bkertz - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        After all the BS denials he spewed in the past, can anyone really take any stock in what he says this time?

      • dondada10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        The prepared statements Braun is going to read don’t matter. It’s all about hearing what he has to say when he gets cornered within his own lies.

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      There’s a jumping the shark in the reporting of this PED stuff comment to be made, i’m just too tired to make it.

      • Glenn - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        I want to know why there are two unrelated Fonzie references in this comment section – “Fonzie’s jacket” and “jumping the shark”.

      • umrguy42 - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        Glenn, it’s Milwaukee. They have a statue of the Fonz downtown. IIRC (since I’m too young for the show and don’t care to watch repeats), Happy Days was set in Milwaukee.

      • dondada10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        Furthermore, the character Fonzie was half Jewish, as is Braun. Plus, remember the jacket he wore during the first apology?

    • dickclydesdale - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      He is using the “Giambi Defense” Apologize but NEVER admit complete guilt.

  2. bkertz - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Whew! And here I was worried about the toll it would take on Braun and his family if he had to answer any questions.

  3. theaxmancometh - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    A prepared statement? C’mon Ryan, you owe us Brewer fans a lot more than that. This is just another scumbag move…

  4. stoutfiles - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Do Brewers fans even want this scumbag on their team? I’d boo him every time he came up if he was on my team; he disgraces the uniform he wears, and his contract is so bloated that better people will be traded or hit free agency because the Brewers can’t afford them.

    • dondada10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Braun has 7 years left on his deal with an option for an 8th or a 4 mil buyout. He makes ~11 mil the first two years and then ~18 the last 5.

      It’s not an awful contract, but no way a team trades for him right now.

    • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Even when clean he’ll probably remain a pretty good player, I think the home team booing will stop pretty quickly. In the end, most people only care if you help or hurt the team.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      These guys are entertainers. He’s still going to entertain so I really don’t care. Its not that I don’t have a moral compass its that sports are always going to have cheaters and right now ours isn’t going anywhere. And the PED thing I can get over, the anti-semite stuff and all that stuff is more bothersome.

  5. eshine76 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    By reading a prepared statement and not taking questions, all he is doing is reinforcing Kirk Gibson’s comments about him “practicing at theater school somewhere.”

    While I don’t disagree with the assessment that he won’t please everybody, a more candid forum has the potential to come off as more sincere, which would help him to some. Given his previous lies, it has to be better than reciting a polished, PR-scripted statement.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Honest question, would you believe anything he said?

      • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        If he said he took drugs to get an edge, he lied about it, cost an innocent man his job, tried to drag his friends into the mess…then yeah, I’ll believe him and the candidness might even earn my respect.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        It’s refreshing to her someone say that. Usually people spend a comment or twenty talking about how Braun is a huge liar and would never believe anything he said, and then say they want him to come clean. It’s that logic train that makes me ask the above question.

        One note:

        cost an innocent man his job

        That man didn’t do his job properly, even with all the crap Braun said/inferred about him. That’s why he lost his job.

      • eshine76 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        Me? No, I wouldn’t believe everything he said, but he shouldn’t worry about me. There are Brewers fans and players who stood by him through the wave of accusations. Now they are rightfully pissed because he made them feel foolish. Those are the people he has to win over. He can begin doing that if he is candid (not scripted) and owns up to everything.

      • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        He messed up too, so maybe he did cost himself the job. I’ll amend the apology I want from Braun to say “I smeared a man’s name and implied that he tainted my sample because he was a fan of a rival team. I owe him and his family a major apology.”

  6. jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    “Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki — denied that he ever spoke to them. ”

    This part is interesting. Votto was adamant last night that he never spoke to Braun about it, said he doesn’t even know Braun very well so it would have been shocking to him if Braun had called to lobby his support. Then he said if absolutely necessary he’ll provide phone records to prove Braun didn’t call him and he really wishes people would leave his name out of this whole mess. If he had spoken to Votto, Votto would have nothing to hide, he could have played the Aaron Rodgers card and said “he was a friend, he lied to me”.
    I don’t doubt that Braun was doing some pretty shady things, but I wonder why news outlets would try dragging other people into it. Makes me think that Yahoo and ESPN are just trying too hard to drag an already dirty name through the mud.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      I doubt ESPN would make up a story. Sounds more like “according to a source, Braun contacted Votto/Tulowitzki” rather than “according to Votto/Tulowitzki.”

      If it’s the former, shame on ESPN for not following up with the principles involved.

      • paperlions - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        ….but….don’t all news outlets do this all the time? Nearly every report that says something like “according to sources player X was told Y”, is followed immediately by player X saying “no, that never happened”, which is followed by the new source saying “we stick by our report”…which is the media equivalent of saying “did so”, and calling the person with first hand knowledge a liar.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Then maybe it’s just me but if you are going to report that Player X said Y, and you call Player X and (s)he denies it, then don’t run the report?

      • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        It seems that once the news cycle changed from every 24 hours to every second, the need to confirm stories went out the window. If you want to be first with the news, you don’t have time to make sure it’s fact.

      • paperlions - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        I agree…but the sheer number of reports that are contradictory or turn out to be false is staggering…and when do you ever hear/read a follow up that admits the story was incorrect or unsubstantiated. They may phrase it as “updating a previous report” but they make is sound like there is new information, when that new information just shows they didn’t verify prior to publication…and they very rarely even do that.

        It is drive-by hit-and-run journalism.

        You know those annoying guys that used to always post “First” in comment sections? Well, that is pretty much all of the media….be first and be controversial, who cares if it is accurate? Well, they don’t.

      • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        The worst part is that Votto simply denying it will give ESPN another reason to report the story again and say “we stick by it because our unnamed completely anonymous source says it’s true”

  7. alexo0 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I can’t help but laugh at the concept of “coming clean”:

    “Ladies and gentleman, I’ve made mistakes in my career (I’ll never truly confess them, but I’ll refer to them passively). I apologize if I’ve hurt anyone (I’m not convinced that my actions actually hurt anyone, but if it makes you feel better, I’ll say I’m sorry) . I just want to move on and continue to play the game I love so much (Let’s just move on and pretend this never happened).

    • commonsenseisnotcmonman - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      “The Giambino Defense”

  8. paperlions - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Braun surely owes some people apologies. But those apologies don’t need to be public…this is an exercise in PR, of course, and there really is no answer he could give that would satisfy anyone…and he sure as hell doesn’t owe the media a chance to ask him questions. When has a person in his position (and his position is 100% his fault) ever been asked questions by the media that did not cross the line from “things people sort of do have the right to know” to “things people have absolutely no right whatsoever to know”.

    As Craig pointed out, McGwire was ripped after his press conference. Here is the entire list of people active in baseball (or recently retired) that have talked more candidly about their steroid use:

    Yep. No one…and still everyone pissed and moaned about what he said because he didn’t say exactly what they wanted him to say. The only “prepared statement” that will satisfy the mob (which is exactly what this is) is one that the mob writes itself.

    • stoutfiles - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      ‘But while he admits to having used steroids, the 46-year-old McGwire apparently continues to be in denial about the effect they had on his ability to go from 39 homers in his third straight injury-plagued season in 1995 to 52, 58, 58, 70 and 65 in the next five succeeding seasons.

      “The reason was because of my injuries,” McGwire said. “That was the only reason I got into that stuff.”‘

      McGwire gets blasted because he’s not really remorseful, at all. One of the few that came off as actually sad and sorry was Andy Pettitte, and he has been pretty much forgiven, so it IS possible to get forgiveness if you actually want it.

      • paperlions - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        No, he got blasted for everything….and he was remorseful….all he did was take steroids, he didn’t kill anyone, was he supposed to break down and cry? He was blasted for not thinking they helped him hit HRs, he was blasted for not saying he had used since HS.

        Hell, Kirk Gibson insinuated the other day that McGwire was dirty when the Dodgers and A’s played in the WS in 1988…people completely disregard anything that is said, facts, history, everything, and just use blanket statements and allegations.

  9. JB (the original) - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    “I’m sorry. I f*cked up big time and threw anyone and everyone under the bus that could save my ass. I’m a real dick and can understand if I’m booed the rest of my life. I’ve tainted the game of baseball in a way I can’t repair, and as such, I hereby announce my retirement form Major League Baseball.”

    This is the prepared statement I’d like to see.

    • JB (the original) - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Being part of the “mob” and all.

  10. historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I disagree with you Craig. I thought Hugh Grant’s interview “coming clean” was pretty good and did much to rehabilitate his image. I think it’s rare — but then I think most people really suck at apologies anyway. It’s something most people don’t do well and I don’t know why we’d expect someone to do it better in public than they do in private. That said, I think he should make the statement in order to take the heat from the media and public. You got to pay the piper. There are consequences and repercussions.

    • jm91rs - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      I didn’t even know Hugh Grant did something he needed to come clean about. Was it for breaking up with Liz Hurley? He only needs to apologize to himself to leaving a woman that beautiful. But yeah, if you are completely honest I think you can be forgiven for most transgressions. The key might be if Braun reveals information that hasn’t been leaked yet. Say “not only did I do all the stuff reported, I also did this”. That way more crap isn’t leaked over the course of a few years. The only way to move on is to tell everything so that people can’t keep releasing more details to remind everyone you’re a liar. Give Oprah a call, she’ll help you out. Just don’t try calling her when you’re washed up and hoping to clear your name (like Lance Armstrong).

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      That’s because for an apology to work, the person has to actually, be, you know, sorry. And most of the time, these fake apologies aren’t about atoning for the person’s actions, but rather, about their self-serving interests and repairing their image so they can continue to make large amounts of money.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        They also have to be given to people who are owed an apology. We, as a society, expect apologies from people who owe us nothing. And, because we are not owed anything, we do not have the capacity to judge whether it was acceptable or not.

      • apmn - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Craig, I understand rationally why you argue that society does not need an apology in these cases, and it makes sense that these apologies tend to ring hollow because they were unnecessary in the first place. Yet I can’t help but empathize with those who feel cheated as fans and supporters. Athletes like Braun (pre-2011) have become brands that people associate with because they like the image that these brands portray. And the athletes benefit financially. People don’t like to be fooled into following false brands. Ultimately, it does not matter if their reactions to athletes misbehavior fit your rationale of appropriate apologies because they are real feelings and experiences that leave people feeling hurt.

  11. DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I totally disagree. You are an excellent writer Craig, and a damn fine lawyer. Now get yee to PR 101, you have a lot of work to do. If you think Braun cannot rehabilitate himself to some extent, you are nuts.

    Will some people still hate him? Yes. Newsflash – every Major League player is hated by some percentage of the people. His will always be higher, but that changes nothing in the context of rehabilitating his image. If Braun where to be upfront, get the information out, not use weasel words, a lot of people would move on – lots of them. Does he have to do that? No. Should he do it? That is up to him. But can he do it? Absolutely

  12. mikebarnesnarizona - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Ladies and Gentlemen. Please welcome your 2014 World Series Champions………..SEATTLE MARINERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    I’d prefer he do a live Q&A. That way he can be asked questions, then pause, turn to his side, whisper into his Lawyer’s ear, who then whispers into his PR representative’s ear, who then whispers into the Union’s representative’s ear, who then whispers into the league’s general counselor’s ear, who then whispers into the Brewer’s ear, then back again. It will be the most epic game of telephone EVER! ESPN can live broadcast Buster Onley’s tweets in response to each answer! James Lipton can moderate!

    Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
    Emmy nomination!

    • JB (the original) - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Especially if they come up with some good theme music.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        Only if it’s 80’s action television theme music. Something like the theme to Magnum P.I. or Knight Rider, or Baywatch.

        God, I could make SO much money as a producer.

    • apmn - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Unfortunately, they would cut to commercial before each of his responses so that we would have to watch animated bears with toilet paper stuck to their butts before hearing his answer.

  14. jdillydawg - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I look forward to seeing Braun play again after suspension. For me, I don’t give a crap he lied or cheated. Don’t really care that half of baseball did. Nor do I care that A-Rod is becoming the poster boy for all this crap. Anybody who takes satisfaction from a Q&A session needs therapy.

    Thing is, like most Americans, I have a short memory. I want to see good baseball and quite honestly, I don’t really care who’s juiced and who’s not. Until owners stop throwing millions of dollars at these guys, they are going to do what it takes to have an edge.

    I’ve been just about priced out of Dodger games this year, but for the money Magic and his boys dropped on these guys, when I do drop the dough to see them play, I expect them to win and I expect them to play brilliantly. 42 and 8? Sure, that’s a nice record, but for that kind of money it should not be historical, it should be commonplace.

    Money runs this. It’s not about the PEDs, it’s not about the cheating, it’s about the money. Basic economics. We are all driven by incentives.

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